While watching your favourite contestant performing never-before-seen moves on the popular dance reality show, wide-eyed, you must have wondered aloud,
“Where did s/he learn this!” This exact question has helped dance schools chart their next move – Western style dance. With a lot of enquiries coming up from aspirants, who have mostly switched their dreams from the traditional classical Bharatnatyam and Mohiniyattom to Salsa, Ballet, hip-hop, freestyle and contemporary dance, dance studios are opening a portfolio of dance forms offering sessions for each one.
Sowing some of the initial seeds of contemporary dance in Kochi, Susheela Pai, founder of Mudra Dance School, has offered a number of western dance forms through workshops.
Contemporary dance is in
Last month, Mudra organised an Indian contemporary dance workshop with Preethi Bharadwaj. Also on the cards is a Cha-Cha workshop on Salsa. “There is equal response for contemporary and traditional dance forms. We receive queries on classical forms and some want to learn Western too. Contemporary is in great demand as there is a lot of freedom; it is what you feel or how can you present a story with the current timeline. People who are more versatile in Indian dance forms use that to express, whereas those trained in Western forms use classical ballet or jazz for expression. However, what needs to be understood is that there is a huge difference between fusion, contemporary and western forms. I would like to bring to Kochi dance forms which we don’t get to see here often,” says Susheela.
Sreejith P of the Dazzlers Studio says, “Contemporary encompasses many different approaches to dance practice. Unlike classical forms, contemporary doesn’t have a set/codified movement form or concept; instead it constantly adapts to include new forms and ideas. Choreographed works tend to focus less on linear narrative than classical dance. It explored themes and ideas in more abstract ways using techniques often borrowed from other dance genres. With increasing popularity, a lot of dance schools are offering contemporary dance without certified trainers. Learning contemporary is not easy; everything takes discipline to master it.”
According to Najmal of Volcano Dance Studio in Kochi, “We provide classes in Eastern contemporary, Western and lyrical contemporary. Initially, we started off with the prospects of teaching college students fusion forms. This became popular in two years. A lot of people are asking for Salsa and contemporary. The current generation is more conscious about their body and they learn dance to be in shape, quite different from a generation that was keen on learning classical forms. So we have introduced hip-hop, Salsa and Pumbstart in our studio.”
Aswathy Vishweshwaram, owner of the Beats n Steps Dance School, which started in 2016, says, “We are currently providing classes on Zumba fitness, Bollywood, freestyle and contemporary. A lot of enquiries come on cinematic dance.”
Though new dance schools are mushrooming in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram day by day, competition is very high and the only the best will eventually make the cut....